Carson, CA – The LA Galaxy twice came back from a goal deficit to defeat the Seattle Sounders, 4 to 2, in the Quarterfinals of the US Open Cup on Wednesday night. In front of 3,409 people at StubHub Center’s Track & Field Stadium – a makeshift venue as the main stadium was being utilized for the CrossFit Games – Sebastian Lletget pulled out the late game heroics to rescue a dominant side that just couldn’t get ahead of a feisty Sounders team.
The LA Galaxy did what was generally expected in starting a make shift squad of A-Team bench players, young players and the occasion LA Galaxy II star.
This match started an awful trend for both teams as Leonardo, a player who showed some promise in 2015, gave away a horrible pass back to LA Galaxy goalkeeper Clement Diop. It was intercepted by Seattle’s Michael Farfan who slotted it past Diop’s outstretched body just 4 minutes in.
From that point on it was a mostly dominant LA Galaxy performance. They carried most of the possession, but as is customary for this particular team, they lacked any finish on the final ball. Seattle did their best to counter when they were able.
Alan Gordon would find himself in the right place at the right time in the 17th minute. Gordon redirected what was probably a Baggio Husidic shot into the back of the goal. It was deliberate act by Gordon but it’s probably not a reach to think Baggio was hoping he would find the back of the net himself.
Sloppiness ensued for the remainder of the half and both teams entered the make shift locker room tied at a single goal apiece and probably unhappy with the overall quality of their play.
The second half saw another strange goal as a long ball across the face of goal saw Diop come out to cut the ange down. But Herculez Gomez got on the end of it and somehow bounced it into the goal in the 58th minute. There was probably no more than six inches of room at the near post but Gomez found just enough space to make Los Angeles pay.
Arena thought that Diop may’ve thought the ball was out of bounds. “I think he thought the ball was out. And he kind of stopped on the play.” But regardless the Galaxy found themselves once again behind in a game they should’ve been ahead or at the very least, level.
The game really changed on the substitutions of Gyasi Zardes and Giovani dos Santos in the 74th minute. Alan Gordon and Mike Magee made way and it was up to Zardes and Dos Santos to chase the game.
Almost immediately the two subs made their presence felt as Gyasi Zardes applied a deep press on the Seattle defense. Dos Santos followed on his side and the two strikers forced a turnover that saw Giovani intercept a back pass and run around Seattle goalkeeper Tyler Miller for a goal in the 77th minute.
With the score tied and the Galaxy’s two most dangerous attackers available on the field the flood gates started to open.
Baggio Husidic and Gyasi Zardes combined perfectly to find Sebastian Lletget his first goal in the 85th minute and it was Zardes who helped again in the 88th minute as Lletget found his 2nd goal of the night.
“Sebastian (Lletget) hasn’t had a regular shift in awhile. It’s good for him. And he did a good job.” Bruce Arena, LA Galaxy Head Coach
It would be too easy to give Zardes and Dos Santos full credit for brining Lletget into the game, but that’s what happened. But Lletget should also be credited with rising to the challenge.
“You just get tired. And they (Gyasi Zardes and Giovani Dos Santos) brought energy. And they are smart players. Just being clever. Gio getting that goal, just anticipating that play, and he did well to finish it.” Sebastian Lletget, LA Galaxy Midfielder
With the 4-2 victory the LA Galaxy advance to the Semi-Finals of the US Open Cup for the first time since 2006 (Where they lost to Chicago in the final), and for the first time since Bruce Arena joined the club in 2009.
Bruce Arena said after the game that this tournament is always a goal for his team. “Believe me. Anyone who thinks that we haven’t tried to do this… It’s not because it wasn’t important.” He continued “The next game, wherever that is, will be a tough game, and we’ll be ready to go.”
The LA Galaxy will be matched up against FC Dallas in their semifinal match with the host of that game to be determined by blind draw on July 21st by the US Open Cup committee. In fact both the hosts of the semifinal and the final will be announced.
On the other side of the Bracket the Chicago Fire and New England Revolution advanced as well and they will also be awaiting the US Open Cup draw to determine home and away teams.
This is the second time in July that the LA Galaxy have beaten the Seattle Sounders (1-0 in Seattle, 4-2 in US Open Cup). The Galaxy will get a chance to make it a clean sweep when they face off against Seattle for the third time this month back in Seattle on Sunday July 31st.
The LA Galaxy have now won 5 games in a row in all competitions. And are unbeaten in 6 games across all competitions.
The LA Galaxy are 2-0 when playing at the StubHub Track & Field Stadium. But the other win was when AJ DeLaGarza and Jelle Van Damme faced off against 25 Ten-Year-Olds and barely won 3-2 (WATCH HERE).
SEA – Michael Farfan (unassisted) 4’
LA – Alan Gordon (assisted by Baggio Husidic, Sebastian Lletget) 17’
SEA – Herculez Gomez (assisted by Dylan Remick, Michael Farfan) 58’
LA – Giovani dos Santos 77’
LA – Sebastian Lletget (assisted by Baggio Husidic, Gyasi Zardes) 85’
LA – Sebastian Lletget (assisted by Gyasi Zardes) 88’